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Learn the Components of Communication in the Workplace

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Communication is sharing information between two or more individuals, the act of conveying information. Communication has so many components, and failing to communicate in the workplace effectively is commonplace.

Effective communication requires all components of a communication interworking perfectly for “shared meaning,” my favorite definition of communication. It is of particular importance when questions are asked and answered.

Components in Communication

There are five components to any communication and a sixth that is the overall environment of the workplace in which the communication takes place. The components of communication are:

  • The individual sending the message. The sender must present the message clearly and with enough detail so that the receiver shares meaning with the sender.
  • The context for the message. The context is how the message is delivered by the sender of the message. Context involves nonverbal communication such as gestures, body language, facial expressions, and elements such as tone of voice. Most of the context for a message is only available when the receiver can see and hear the message sender. Email and IM emoticons, for example, are a poor substitution as the sender formulates them without input from the receiver.

    Another piece of the context is the emotions that are involved in the communication circle. Is the sender angry? Is the receiver indifferent to the content of the communication or disdainful of the sender? Normal human emotions affect whether a message is successfully shared.

  • The person receiving the message. The receiver must listen carefully and intently, ask questions for clarity, and paraphrase to ascertain that the receiver shares meaning with the sender. If the receiver trusts the sender, the chances for effective communication increase.
  • The delivery method you choose. The delivery method should be selected based on the medium most effective to convey the meaning of the message. Since communication methods are so diverse since the dawn of computers and mobile devices, decisions about the delivery method have become more complex. The delivery method must suit the communication needs of both the sender and the receiver.

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